Understanding systematic and unsystematic risks in large cap mutual funds

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Large cap mutual funds are pooled investment vehicles that primarily invest in the stocks of large, established companies with relatively stable earnings and higher market capitalisations. While these funds offer the potential for long-term growth and relative stability compared to smaller cap funds, they are not entirely immune to risks. Therefore, understanding the types of risks associated with large-cap mutual funds is crucial for investors to make informed investment decisions.

This article explains systematic and unsystematic risks in large-cap mutual funds, elaborating on their characteristics and impact on investment performance.

  • Table of contents
  1. Systematic risks in large cap funds
  2. Unsystematic risks in large cap mutual funds
  3. Difference between systematic and unsystematic risks in large cap mutual funds
  4. FAQs

Systematic Risks in Large Cap Funds

Systematic risks, also known as market risks, are factors that affect the entire market and cannot be diversified away. In the context of large cap funds, systematic risks include:

  • Economic risk: Economic factors such as GDP growth, inflation, interest rates, and consumer sentiment can significantly influence the performance of large-cap stocks. Economic downturns or recessions may lead to decreased consumer spending, reduced corporate earnings, and lower stock prices, adversely affecting large cap funds.
  • Market risk: Market risk refers to the risk of losses due to factors affecting the overall stock market, such as geopolitical events, changes in investor sentiment, and fluctuations in global financial markets.
  • Interest rate risk: Changes in interest rates can impact the valuation of large-cap stocks, particularly those in interest rate-sensitive sectors such as banking and real estate. Rising interest rates may lead to higher borrowing costs for companies, potentially reducing profitability and stock prices, thereby affecting the large-cap mutual funds invested in these sectors.

Unsystematic Risks in Large Cap Mutual Funds

Unsystematic risks, also known as specific risks, are factors that affect individual companies or sectors but can be mitigated to an extent through diversification. In the context of large cap funds, unsystematic risks include:

  • Business risk:Business risk refers to the dangers that come from how a company operates, like dealing with competition, outdated technology, or bad management. If large cap funds invest a lot in companies facing these challenges, they could be affected by business risk.
  • Financial risk: Financial risk refers to the dangers associated with how a company manages its money, like borrowing too much, not having enough cash on hand, or facing bankruptcy. Companies with a lot of debt or shaky balance sheets might face financial risk, which could affect the value of their stocks held by large-cap mutual funds.
  • Sectoral risk: Sectoral risk comes from things that affect certain industries, like technology, healthcare, or energy. Large-cap mutual funds that focus on these industries could face sectoral risks from changes in how the industry works, new technology, government policy changes, or shifts in supply and demand.

Difference between Systematic and Unsystematic Risks in Large Cap Mutual Funds

  • Impact on returns: Systematic risks affect all investments in the market, while unsystematic risks only affect specific companies or industries, causing their stock prices to move independently from the rest of the market.
  • Diversification: Systematic risks cannot be diversified away as they affect the entire market. On the other hand, unsystematic risks can be mitigated through diversification by holding a diversified portfolio representing different industries, sectors and geographies.
  • Source of risk: Systematic risks arise from macro factors such as the state of the broader economy, rising interest rates, geopolitical tensions etc. which affect all companies. Unsystematic risks come from factors specific to a company or industry. The impact of this risk on a mutual fund depends on the nature of holdings and their concentration within specific sectors.

Large cap funds are associated with both systematic and unsystematic risks, which can significantly affect their performance. Systematic risks affect the whole market and can't be avoided, but unsystematic risks can be managed to a great degree through diversification strategies. Knowing about these risks can empower investors to make smart choices while selecting a suitable large cap fund for their investment portfolios.


What are some examples of unsystematic risks that can affect large cap funds?
Examples of unsystematic risks include company-specific events like management changes, product recalls, or lawsuits, as well as industry-specific factors such as shifts in consumer preferences or regulatory changes affecting specific sectors like healthcare or technology.

What strategies can investors use to mitigate risks in large cap fund investments?
Investors can potentially mitigate risks in large-cap mutual funds by diversifying their portfolios across different sectors and industries, thereby spreading risk. Furthermore, conducting thorough research on individual companies within the fund and regularly monitoring economic and market trends can help identify and manage potential risks effectively.

How can investors differentiate between systematic and unsystematic risks in large cap mutual funds?
Investors can differentiate between systematic and unsystematic risks in large cap funds by understanding the sources of each type of risk. Systematic risks stem from external factors affecting the entire market, while unsystematic risks arise from company-specific factors or sector specific factors.

Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.
This document should not be treated as endorsement of the views/opinions or as investment advice. This document should not be construed as a research report or a recommendation to buy or sell any security. This document is for information purpose only and should not be construed as a promise on minimum returns or safeguard of capital. This document alone is not sufficient and should not be used for the development or implementation of an investment strategy. The recipient should note and understand that the information provided above may not contain all the material aspects relevant for making an investment decision. Investors are advised to consult their own investment advisor before making any investment decision in light of their risk appetite, investment goals and horizon. This information is subject to change without any prior notice.